Burris II: Son Stars in Scandal Sequel

Got job from Blago five months ago

Roland Burris (D-embattled) is staying in the job as United States Senator from Illinois despite scant support in order to rehabilitate his reputation, according to his new political/media strategist Delmarie Cobb.

But the longer Burris stays in office, the worse his reputation gets. And now the taint of scandal has spread to Burris's son, also named Roland (natch).

"The son of embattled Sen. Roland Burris is a federal tax deadbeat who landed a $75,000-a-year state job under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich five months ago," the Sun-Times reports.

"Blagojevich's administration hired Roland W. Burris II as a senior counsel for the state's housing authority Sept. 10 -- about six weeks after the Internal Revenue Service slapped a $34,163 tax lien on Burris II and three weeks after a mortgage company filed a foreclosure suit on his South Side house."

Yes, that's right. Roland W. Burris II is a lawyer for a state agency whose mission, according to the Sun-Times, "includes overseeing mortgage programs for low-income home buyers and anti-foreclosure initiatives." And he was hired shortly after facing foreclosure on his own home. At least he has experience.

Neither Burris I, Burris II, Burris lawyer Timothy Wright III, or Delmarie Cobb (I) would return phone calls or e- mails sent by the Sun-Times seeking comment.

Burris presided over the Senate chamber on Wednesday and also made remarks supporting voting rights for District of Columbia residents.

"The foundation of our system of government is that all citizens - all citizens - are represented in the federal government," he said, slyly twinning the plight of people living in the District with his own position as the Senate's only African American.

Of course, nobody is against Roland Burris because he's black; his callous and offensive use of a race card that does not exist is yet another mark against him (and Cobb), though it isn't the first time he's conveniently adopted an "all-new black militant image," as former Channel 7 political reporter Andy Shaw once said.

As veteran Chicago political journalist Cate Plys explains at The Beachwood Reporter [disclaimer: I published the piece], "The single most reliable strategy to ensure that President Obama's former Senate seat will ultimately go to a white politician is to keep Roland Burris in it right now."

Even as state attorney general Lisa Madigan has potentially opened a new path to getting rid of Burris sooner rather than later, the Tribune editorial board, like many others, seems resigned (no pun intended) to the idea that Burris won't, well, resign.

Maybe now that his son is involved, he'll think again.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review. You can subscribe to his NBCChicago.com RSS feed here.

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
Contact Us